Grace Darling Song Competition
The closing date for the Grace Darling Song competition has now passed and more than 60 fantastic entries have been received. Many thanks to everyone who took the time to create and record their composition. The judges have a challenging task now to select the winning entries, but watch out here for more information.
Woodhorn has issued an appeal to musicians in the region to compose a song about Grace Darling, the 19th century sea rescue heroine from Northumberland.
The competition is open to any individual and group, and the song can be of any genre as long it relates to Grace Darling in some way. Up to six of the new songs will be broadcast during the three-week tour of a play about Grace Darling called, Amazing Grace, which will be performed at ten theatres in the region throughout October and November.
Grace Darling and her lighthouse keeper father lived on Longstone island when, in a storm on September 7, 1838, the SS Forfarshire struck the notorious Harcar rocks, a part of the Farne Islands and situated off the Northumberland Coast between Bamburgh and Seahouses. Of the 63 people on board, nine managed to escape in the lifeboat and headed to South Shields, while Grace and her father selflessly manned a coble to heroically rescue nine people stranded on the rocks.
Queen Victoria bestowed the Silver Bravery medal on Grace, and, after Victoria, she became the most well know woman in 19th century Britain. Sadly, the unwanted media attention forced Grace to become a recluse within a few month of the rescue and she tragically died of TB in 1842 aged only 26, four years after her heroic deed.
Woodhorn is home to Northumberland Archives which houses records of lasting importance to the county of Northumberland, including several relating to Grace Darling. Many of her letters and papers celebrating her legacy are housed at Woodhorn as part of the collection of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle and are available to view in our Study Centre.
Woodhorn Exhibition and Events Officer Liz Ritson explained: “We are delighted to be working with the playwrights Ed Waugh and Trevor Wood on this. The music can take any style as long as it’s original and comes in at under four minutes.
“Amazing Grace tells the story of Grace Darling through the eyes of a modern-day writer called Grace who wants to make a film about her famous namesake, so the song can have a modern context.”
The competition closing date is Friday, September 14, and the songs to be used on the tour will be announced soon after.
The three-week north east tour of Amazing Grace will begin with a world premiere at Alnwick Playhouse on Wednesday, October 17, as follows:
Alnwick Playhouse: 01665 510 785 Wednesday, October 17; Thursday, October 18 (evening and matinee); Friday, October 19
Consett Empire: 01207 218171 Saturday, October 20 (evening and matinee)
Hexham Queen’s Hall: 01434 652477 Monday, October 22 and Tuesday, October 23 (evening and matinee)
Gala Theatre (Durham): 0191 332 4041 Wednesday, October 24 and Thursday, October 25 (evening and matinee)
Hartlepool Theatre: 01429 890 000 Friday, October 26
Gateshead Old Town Hall: 0191 433 6965 Saturday, October 27
Customs House (South Shields): 0191 454 1234 Monday, October 29 and Tuesday, October 30 (evening and matinee)
Blyth Phoenix Theatre: 01670 367 228 Wednesday, October 31
Berwick Maltings: 01289 330999 Thursday, November 1 and Friday, November 2 (evening and matinee)
Playhouse Whitley Bay: 0844 277 2771 Saturday, November 3 (evening and matinee)
Tickets for Amazing Grace are on sale from the venues. For further information visit http://www.edwaughandtrevorwood.co.uk/